Variability of hydrologic regimes and morphology in constructed open-ditch channels

J. S. Strock, Joe A Magner, W. B. Richardson, Michael J Sadowsky, Gary R Sands, R. T. Venterea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Open-ditch ecosystems are potential transporters of considerable loads of nutrients, sediment, pathogens and pesticides from direct inflow from agricultural land to small streams and larger rivers. Our objective was to compare hydrology and channel morphology between two experimental open-ditch channels. An open-ditch research facility incorporating a paired design was constructed during 2002 near Lamberton, MN. A200-m reach of existing drainage channel was converted into a system of four parallel channels. The facility was equipped with water level control devices and instrumentation for flow monitoring and water sample collection on upstream and downstream ends of the system. Hydrographs from simulated flow during year one indicated that paired open-ditch channels responded similarly to changes in inflow. Variability in hydrologic response between open-ditches was attributed to differences in open-ditch channel bottom elevation and vegetation density. No chemical, biological, or atmospheric measurements were made during 2003. Potential future benefits of this research include improved biological diversity and integrity of open-ditch ecosystems, reduce flood peaks and increased flow during critical low-flow periods, improved and more efficient nitrogen retention within the open-ditch ecosystem, and decreased maintenance cost associated with reduced frequency of open-ditch maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDrainage VIII - Proceedigs of the 8th International Drainage Symposium
EditorsR.A. Cooke
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Event8th International Drainage Symposium - Drainage VIII - Sacramento, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 21 2004Mar 24 2004

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 8th International Drainage Symposium - Drainage VIII


Other8th International Drainage Symposium - Drainage VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySacramento, CA


  • Biogeochemical cycle
  • Nitrate
  • Non-point source pollution
  • Open-ditch


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